I’ll mention the Previously this week only because it included something that we haven’t seen since the last few episodes of Season 2: the death of Harry Morgan. We already knew Harry had killed himself, but not quite why. When Dexter kills someone in Doakes’ presence, Doakes says, “Stay away from me.” Dexter’s heard someone say this to him before — his father. This happened days before Harry died, and immediately after Harry catches Dexter in the act for the first time. Upon seeing this in the Previously, I was intrigued to see how they would tie this back in to the story line.
So, for this episode of Dexter, perhaps fitting with the many false identities Dexter has taken on over the series — Patrick Bateman, Kyle Butler, Daryl Tucker — I’m trying out the Alias 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon. There’s a story behind the label, too! Eight winemakers in Napa Valley, California anonymously joined forces without listing their names or the estates on which the grapes were grown to collaborate on great wines. This Cabernet Sauvignon has a deep red jewel tone when poured into the glass and emits scents of blueberries, strawberries, and various spices. Acidic at first, the palate becomes softer and oakier throughout the course of the glass. Overall, it’s impressive for the price, but only slightly. A nice, smooth wine to enjoy.
Now, the episode starts out with a trippy distorted flashback to the Season 7 finale. Deb is frozen in the shipping container, deciding between shooting Dexter and LaGuerta. “Do what you gotta do,” he says. And then Deb shoots Dexter. Three times. Deb breaks out of the flashback and we find her in the same shipping container with Dr. Vogel, part of a therapy session. This is what Deb saw herself do that night. She saw herself shoot and kill Dexter. Dr. Vogel tries to encourage Deb to stop repressing her emotions.
In a flash to a crime scene, we see Dexter snapping some pictures of a homicide, but the real reveal is how well Quinn is trying to solve the case. “Like any good Sergeant would do.” Batista breaks the news to Quinn that he passed the Sergeant’s exam, and is finally deserving of Batista’s recommendation for the position. Quinn was so happy! “It’s just that I’ve never been this happy to get back a positive test, you know?” He’s adorable. It’s just too bad that Captain Matthews still isn’t crazy about the idea. Matthews suggests Detective Miller, who somehow exists for the first time this season. Also at the crime scene, a detective tells Masuka that a hot young lady has been stopping by the office looking for him.
For coffee that morning, Dexter and Dr. Vogel meet up to discuss Deb’s progress. Dr. Vogel makes it very clear that Dexter is not permitted to visit Deb, because she’s not sure if Deb has “hit rock bottom yet.” Unfortunately, this was a little too foreshadowing for me, but we’ll see where it goes. Could Dexter even go without seeing Deb for the rest of his life? Probably not. As has been pointed out many times before, Dr. Vogel is surprised by Dexter’s ability to have an emotional attachment to Deb. Before they part ways, Dexter lets Vogel know that former patient A.J. Yates is next on the list of potential Brain Surgeon suspects. When vetting Yates, he notices a suspicious scar indicative of brain surgery.
Back at Dr. Vogel’s home where Deb has been living under watch, Vogel tries to help Deb understand that she’s not alone by showing her some old tapings of her therapy sessions with Harry. Harry did indeed struggle with a lot of the stresses Deb is currently facing. A lot of ethics questions come into play as Deb fights between accepting what her brother is and trying to figure out what’s right for herself. Deb can’t accept that killing LaGuerta instead of Dexter was not a mistake. Their meeting is interrupted by someone at the door, and Deb uses Vogel’s absence to look at the tape again.
Dexter was the one who stopped by, inquiring why Vogel never told him about Yates’ Brain Surgeon-esque scar. Has she been hiding something? Probably, but who knows… Dexter leaves to investigate Yates’ house, and finds nothing out of the ordinary except for a lot of women’s shoes and some photos of his dying father. Unknown to him though. Yates is in his basement watching everything go down on a security camera. The only thing that stops Yates from killing Dexter is hearing Vogel’s voice on the phone when Dexter calls her to discuss the shoes. He collects some fingerprints from the shoes and leaves. Yates contemplates his next course of action in the basement, where we see a severely beat up woman tied to the wall.
In annoying news, Dexter arrives back at his apartment to find Cassie, a friend of Jamie’s, borrowing some laundry detergent. Cassie clearly thinks there’s a special connection between her and Dexter, and Jamie agrees. I’m really hoping this doesn’t go anywhere. I’ve always hated it when Dexter had other women in his life besides Rita. Lila was just pure awful. Lumen was nice, but misguided. Hannah is a bitch. Whenever Dexter had a love interest, it usually ends up poorly. For someone who spends his time observing and faking human behavior, he makes terrible choices when it comes to his partners. Lila tried to kill him, Astor, and Cody, and Hannah tried to kill Deb (Miguel was a bad choice too, but at least not a love interest). Anyway. I don’t care if Cassie is single. She can go away. Whew. End rant.
Remembering back to Season 5, Batista got an Internal Affairs investigation following him after beating up a cop at a bar for telling him that his then wife LaGuerta gave the best blowjobs in all of Miami. This time around, things get more complicated when Quinn gets in a fight after overhearing some cops talking about Deb’s almost-DUI. Quinn was out celebrating with Batista and Jamie after nailing the Sergeant’s Exam, and Jamie has always been a little jealous of Quinn’s lasting attachment to his ex-fiancee. Poor Quinn. He really does have a good heart! Batista buys off the cops with a round of drinks. This may cost him the Sergeant’s recommendation!
The next day, Vogel uses a beer to bribe Deb into visiting the shipping container where she killed LaGuerta. “In your heart, you know you will always choose Dexter.” This epiphany seems to calm Deb for the time being, and she makes the first move in talking to Dexter since she last saw him at the station. The only way she can make it right is by accepting that she’s a good person who was forced to do a terrible thing.
We finally get to see the beautiful young girl, who introduces herself as Niki, meet Masuka. As soon as Masuka starts to flirt with her, she interrupts, “I think you may be my father. You were a sperm donor in college, right?” Mind blown. This encounter is adorable. They have the same soulful yet haunting eyes and the same laugh. Oh, that laugh.
Things are starting to look up for Deb. She’s back working for Elway and she turns down a beer when he offers one. Is Deb finally accepting she’s a good person? She’s considering it, anyway. While Vogel is away, Deb sneaks a peak at the other recordings of Vogel’s therapy sessions with Harry. She finds the most recent one, filmed right before his death. He’s incredibly stressed and guilty. “I don’t think I can live with this,” he cries and walks away.
When Dexter breaks into Yates’ house for the second time, he finds everything upturned, the shoes gone, and Yates nowhere to be found. While investigating, Dexter comes across the secret basement and realizes that the camera downstairs must have recorded everything Dexter did in the house. He also finds bone saws, specimen jars, and a guide to cutting skulls. Yup, Yates is the Brain Surgeon. He also finds a near-dead girl in a cabinet, whom he recognizes from one of the fingerprints he pulled off of the shoes. After dropping the girl off at the E.R., he brings Dr. Vogel over to investigate. When investigating Yates’ files, Dexter finds out that he’s been hacking Vogel’s files, the last of which is an objective report of Dexter. He gets mad at her for treating him like an experiment. On top of banning him from seeing Deb, he gets very furious. Once the Brain Surgeon is killed, he’s done with Vogel.
Watching Harry’s last session with Dr. Vogel put Deb at complete peace, and she finally decides she’s ready to talk to Dexter after hating him for so long. She asks if Dexter ever knew about Harry’s suicide and she feels comfortable talking and listening to what he has to say. Everything seems like it might work out. And then, without any notice, Deb grabs the wheel and swerves them off the bridge into the water. Oh my God. A nearby fisherman manages to save Deb, after which Deb comes to her senses and dives in the water to save the unconscious Dexter from the sunken car. And that’s it.
Recap: Holy shit holy shit holy shit. The eighth and final season is continuing to be one of the most intense, as it should be. Dexter finally figures out who the Brain Surgeon is, but Yates learns that both Dexter and Dr. Vogel are after him as well. And why does the Brain Surgeon have two types of victims? He has the victims, usually men, with dissected brains, and then he has the female victims from whom he keeps an individual high heeled shoe as a trophy. How long as he been killing? Is he better than Dexter? Meanwhile Deb is learning that Harry killed himself because of the monster he created in Dexter, and Deb resolves that she can only do the same, but she wants to take Dexter down with her. In a breath-stealing moment, she drives their car off the road and into the water. Obviously Dexter lives (otherwise the rest of the season would be rather boring), but it’s still one hell of a cliffhanger.